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Ringtail Lemurs


COMMON NAME: Ringtail Lemur

TYPE: Mammals
DIET: fruit, leaves, vegetables, greens

GROUP NAME: Conspiracy, Troop

YOUNG NAME: Infant, Baby


15 to 18 inches

TAIL LENGTH: 22 to 25 inches

WEIGHT: 5 to 7.5 pounds


1. Ring-tailed lemurs are the most terrestrial of all lemurs, spending a great deal of time on the ground instead of the trees. 

2. Male ring-tailed lemurs often have "stink fights" in which they wave their tails (having been rubbed on the strong-smelling wrist gland) at one another.

3. When territory or other disputes take place within a society, female ring-tailed lemurs always win.

4. Ring-tailed lemurs do not have a stable hierarchy. In fact this species is the only primate in which the infants "grapple" for dominance.

5. Male ring-tailed lemurs scent mark by rubbing the spur on the male's forearm on the scent gland of the inner arm, then use it to scar branches and leave their scent behind.

6. A female ring-tailed lemurs carries her newborn in her mouth until the baby is able to cling to the fur on mother's stomach or back.

7. Ring-tailed lemurs possess a very well-developed sense of smell, scent-marking behavior, and numerous scent glands.

8. Ring-tailed lemurs have eyes encircled by black, triangular-shaped rings.

9. Ring-tailed lemurs have long tail for balance while leaping through trees.

10. Ring-tailed lemurs spend more time on the ground, compared to other lemurs.

11. Ring-tailed lemurs form troops of up to 27 individuals. They form multi-male, multi-female groups.

12. During courtship, males compete by engaging in "stink fights" involving scent glands located on the wrists and shoulders

13. Adapted to a range of climates in Madagascar, cold to very hot/dry. Accordingly, ring-tailed lemurs find North Carolina's perfectly reasonable.

14. Lemur troops establish territories, which they defend against other troops. The male lemurs tend to hang back during battles. 

15. Male ring-tailed lemurs come and go from one troop to another, while females stay with the one in which they were born. 

16. As the troop moves from feeding site to feeding site, the core group of females settles into the best feeding spot (generally a good tree) and eats first. The males wait for them to finish or feed in a less desired tree nearby. The same goes for often hard-to-find water which collects in tree hollows.

17. Some female lemurs are dominant over the other females and higher-ranking males strut around with their heads and tails held high, while the lower-ranked lemurs keep their tails and heads down.

18. Like all lemurs, it is endemic to the island of Madagascar, where it is endangered. Today, lemurs find comfortable homes as popular attractions at major zoos around the world, and here at Liberty Acres in Liberty, North Carolina.

19. The ring-tailed lemur is one of the most vocal primates and has a complex array of distinct vocalizations used to maintain group cohesion during foraging and alert group members to the presence of a predator. Human inhabitants of North Carolina speak many languages, but perhaps the ring-tailed lemur's language should be added to the list.

19. The first mention of the ring-tailed lemur in Western literature came in 1625 when English traveller and writer Samuel Purchas described them as being comparable in size to a monkey and having a fox-like long tail with black and white rings.

20. A Ring-tailed lemur named Dotty regularly appeared with Jonny Morris on the BBC television programme Animal Magic.

21. The species was further popularized by the Animal Planet television series Lemur Street.

22. The character King Julien was featured in the animated Madagascar film and TV franchise.

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